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National News Release: 10-928-NAT
Date: July 7, 2010
Contact: Diana Petterson     Elizabeth Alexander
Phone: 202-693-1898     202-693-4675
Email: petterson.diana@dol.gov    alexander.elizabeth@dol.gov

US Department of Labor announces Imperial Sugar will pay more than
$6 million and implement extensive safety and health abatement measures
Settlement resolves violations found after 14 died at Georgia plant

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced it has resolved litigation with Imperial Sugar Co. stemming from the February 2008 explosion at its Port Wentworth, Ga., plant and subsequently discovered safety and health violations at the company's Gramercy, La., facility.

"The 2008 explosion took the lives of 14 people and seriously injured dozens of others. Clearly, health and safety must become this company's top priority," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "This agreement requires Imperial Sugar to make extensive changes to its safety practices, and it underscores the importance of proactively addressing workplace safety and health hazards."

In the agreement, submitted to Judge Covette Rooney of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, Imperial Sugar will pay $4,050,000 in penalties for the 124 violations found at its Port Wentworth plant after the explosion, plus an additional $2 million for the 97 violations found in March 2008 after an inspection of its only other facility, located in Gramercy. The citations alleged, among other safety and health hazards, that the company failed to properly address combustible dust hazards.

As part of the settlement, Imperial Sugar agrees that it has corrected all deficiencies at both of its plants or will correct those deficiencies according to a set schedule. Preventative maintenance and h